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Since it’s inception, the internet has expanded to serve billions of users and an unfathomable number of purposes globally. The internet has irrevocably changed the way we do business and communicate with each other. There has been no faster evolution however than that of the past decade. The number of internet users has risen considerably. We began the decade with approximately 1.8 billion having some form of internet access, or, 26.6% of the global population. As the decade draws to a close, this now stands at approximately 4.5 billion, or, 58.8% of the global population. On average, people spend 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day.
The evolution of the internet over the past decade has been prevalent in two areas in particular. These are Social Media, and Mobile Technologies. Not only have these two technologies evolved within themselves, but they have also completely changed the way that people use the internet.
The average internet user now spends around 2 hours and 15 minutes per day on social media networks. The most popular of these is, of course, Facebook. Facebook was already well established in 2010. Then, in 2012, it made history by reaching 1 billion active users per month. In the same year, Twitter reached 200 million active users, and Linkedin reached 100 million users. Towards the end of the year before, total internet users had hit 2 billion, which gives you an idea of the proportion of users on these social media sites. Just 3 years later in 2015, Facebook reported that it had been visited by 1 billion users in a single day.
But a few years later, in 2017, Facebook found itself making history for the wrong reasons, when it was found that it, and other social media sites, had been used by foreign governments to influence elections in the U.S. and other countries. Reportedly, Facebook’s 2020 plans do include combating misinformation by flagging content it’s fact checkers found to be misleading, or alerting people to any posts or pages run by media outlets deemed to be “state controlled”.
Mobile Technology has also contributed vastly to the evolution of the internet and the way in which we interact with it. It has also had an effect on other technologies accessed through mobile such as social media, video and e-commerce to name a few. In 2012 “Gangnam Style” became the first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views, a milestone that was surely not least in part due to mobile technology making the video so easily accessible to such a large number of viewers. In 2015, Google searches on mobile surpassed those from a desktop for the first time in history. Mobile now has more than 4.68 billion users in 2019, an increase of approximately 100 million from 2018.
In the more general world of the internet, 2010 saw the number of registered domains reach 200 million, and by 2014 the number of web servers surpassed 1 billion. In the same year, an EU court ruled Google to honour “requests to be forgotten”. They received 12,000 requests in the very first day.
2017 brough cybersecurity to the forefront of many internet users’ minds when the WannaCry ransomware attack spread across countless businesses and websites in over 150 countries. In the same year, the number of domains registered had grown to 330 million.
E-commerce has continued to grow in popularity. In 2018 the global e-commerce spend was estimated at $2.8 trillion with an annual growth of 14%. Amazon currently accounts for more than 49% of all of those sales.
Internet users now make up 58.8% of the global population. By 2021, a projected 73% of all ecommerce sales will come from mobile. The number of people with internet access is growing at the rate of more than 11 users per second. Nearly 5 billion google searches are performed per day.
The internet of Things is experiencing a colossal rate of growth. 2 billion IoT objects existed in 2006. This is expected to be around 200 billion in 2020. That’s roughly 26 devices per human on earth.
Because IoT devices are now able to collect data on the human body, new rearch is currently being conducted on our ability to control machines through thought alone. And following on from this, it’s thought that soon IoT devices will have the capability to learn from each other. If successful these developments will, obviously, produce life changing advances that will affect us all.